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When I meet an injection (Dysport, Botox, filler) patient for the first time, I take note of any signs of muscle tension. We all recognize how this looks on the upper face with a furrowed brow.
However, it’s more common to observe chronic stress of the lower face muscles. This appears as a dimpled chin, downward turn of the corners of the mouth, a puckered look to the sides of the chin, and…the most problematic area – the Masseter (jaw muscle).
The Masseter muscles are the large chewing muscles often referred to as the jaw muscles. They are located in front of the ear and extend down to the jaw bone. For people that grind or clench their teeth, they often will exhibit an overly large, bulky, or square jaw line or Masseter muscle.
Besides lower face muscle tension influencing one’s appearance, there are some common complaints that need to be explored. For example, those that tend to exhibit a large Masseter muscle mass will confirm migraines, tension headaches, or even neck and shoulder pain upon questioning. They may even describe being under the care of a physician that is providing prescription medications for migraines. Or, a neurologist that is dosing with Botox to the upper face muscles, scalp, or even the back of the neck for relief.
Oftentimes health professionals are not asking the patient if they grind or clench their teeth. Better yet, they should be checking the Masseter muscle for evidence of over-use and tension. The reason being, these muscles that are tight and over-worked may lend to symptoms of migraines with radiating pain along the neck (of the side they are using) and sometimes down the shoulder.
Although our focus is aesthetic outcomes, we have had several patients find relief by simply administering Dysport and/or Botox into their Masseter muscles. Pain and tension is generally relieved within several days, and the appreciable changes to the appearance are realized in as little as a few weeks for most.
When we are able to help piece the puzzle together, it’s rewarding for both patient and practitioner alike.